A global pandemic and social unrest have provided a collective experience of traumatic events and the need to elevate mental health as a priority for the people of Hartford. Particularly pressing is the need to help individuals identify the difference between common daily ups and downs versus signs of a more serious mental health condition.
Hartford Healthcare shared that, “The physical stress of infection might end, but COVID-19 patients can carry emotional scars from the experience for months and years, often in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).” However, PTSD isn’t always the inability to move on from a traumatic event, there are many layers that can continuously affect someone.
According to the National Center for PTSD, “Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of a traumatic event.” When we think of trauma, we often think of things like abuse, terrorism, or catastrophic events, but trauma can also be caused by events that may be less obvious but can still overwhelm your capacity to cope.
Most people will not react to a traumatic experience in the exact same way, and there is no “wrong” way to respond to trauma. After a traumatic experience, it is normal to feel lots of emotions such as distress, helplessness, shame, guilt, or anger. As time passes, you may start to feel better. But sometimes, those feelings don’t go away. If the symptoms last more than a month, you may have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
It is important to recognize that not all wounds are visible. Trauma causes a disruption to the nervous system, making it difficult for individuals who have experienced trauma to manage or regulate their emotions.
PTSD is real and can affect anyone at any age. A trained professional will diagnose PTSD based on symptoms such as hypervigilance, mood swings, recurring and involuntary flashbacks to the trauma, and avoidance, to name a few.
The National Center for PTSD declared June to be PTSD Awareness month, and whether or not you have been personally affected by PTSD, this month is an opportunity to educate yourself and others about the illness and to share help with those who might need it. As June comes to an end, let’s remember that we can take the lessons we learn this month and apply them to our daily lives.
A quick and confidential way to determine if you may be experiencing PTSD is to take a mental health screening. A screening is not a diagnosis, but it is a way of understanding your symptoms and whether you should seek help from a doctor or other professional.
Did you know that people who have gone through a trauma are three times as likely to experience depression? Our national affiliate, Mental Health America, put together an informative site on adapting after trauma and stress. Check out their tips for healing.
Brayden Ransom is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator at Mental Health Connecticut, which partners with individuals, families, and communities to create environments that support long-term health and wellness to help inspire a future where wellbeing is rooted in respect for the condition of being human.